I was listening to the Art of Manliness Podcast yesterday because I’m always working on my manliness. The interview was with one of my favorite people in the fitness industry, Dan John.
Dan John is a guy I really respect because he talks about true fitness being fit in all areas of your life. Meaning, if you are just a set of six pack abs but the rest of your life is a mess you are doing it wrong.
He practices what he preaches too. He is a world renowned strength coach, record holding athlete, devoted father and grandfather, best selling author, and a well regarded religious studies instructor and lecturer. A true, modern day Renaissance man.
In the podcast, Dan started talking about the concept of shark habits. A shark habit is something you do once and you are done with it, just like a shark eats. Gulp.
Some examples he uses are: when he opens an e-mail he responds to it on the spot; he bought 16 of the same shirts so he doesn’t have to think about what he is going to ear the next day; when he receives a wedding invitation he RSVPs on the spot; when you are booking flights, go ahead and get the rental car and hotel too.
Those are just a few examples that he uses all the time. The main benefit of all this?
It frees up brain space.
Couldn’t we all use a little more of that? I know I can. Clearing the clutter, not keeping you bogged down in the minutiae of life, and allowing you to focus on things that really matter.
What are some shark habits you could do to improve your health? What are things in your day that seem to take up unnecessary time and mental effort? Start there and find out how to conquer them.
I am going to start with the e-mail responses. I get SO many e-mails I can easily get bogged down, so I will start there. If you are unsure of where to start, I would suggest doing another Dan John special.
Create a list of the top 14 foods you eat all the time (the average person eats 14 foods per week). Write them down and make that your grocery list every week. Then use that base of foods to make a weekly menu of foods. When meals are taken care of everything gets easier.
Find your shark habits today and see your life become easier.
I was a chaperone for a church youth trip this past weekend. We took the kids to a conference called Motion that was held at the BJCC in Birmingham. It was amazing, overwhelming, and I don’t think I slept more than 6 hours total the whole time we were there. Sleeping on the ground is rougher than I remember. Hashtag feeling old.
Something one of the speakers said really stuck with me He said that knowledge is doubling every 5 years (some sources say every 18 months). So every 5 years the amount of knowledge the world knows DOUBLES. I think that is so crazy!
Like many things that is a two-edge sword. On one hand that means everything you need to know about health, fitness, nutrition, exercise or anything you want to learn is out there for you. On the other hand, there is a lot of garbage out there.
In your every day life think about how often you are bombarded with TV commercials, plugs on Facebook, radio ads, and Spam e-mails for weight loss advice, products, and services. I Googled weight loss yesterday and it came back with 270 million results.
How do you know what is legit? There are a few things that have always worked and will continue to work forever. The basics are not sexy or exciting but they are effective.
Are there great supplements out there? Absolutely.
Are there weight loss systems that help people? Yes!
Are there diets that work? Every day people are successful with any number of different ways of eating. But ask yourself these questions first before you try something crazy: -Could I work out harder and be more active (especially outside of your workout) overall?
-Could I eat more foods that I prepare and eat out less?
-Do I take in a lot of empty calories? (junk and processed foods, soft drinks, alcohol)
-Does my body need more sleep at night?
-Is my stress level too high?
That is a very oversimplified list, but if you answered yes to the majority of those I would start there. Exercise, proper nutrition, recovery, and stress management are building blocks of your health. If one of them is off, it negatively impacts the rest of them.
Where do you need to start? Pick one building block and start there. Over the next few e-mails I will break down each of the building blocks.
Let’s get back to the basics, so we don’t have to sift through all the confusion that is out there.
Think about the last time someone was rude to you for no reason at all. What were you feeling? Anger, frustration, and most of all confusion. And the age old question:
"What's wrong with this dude?"
That person is rude to you and then you walk away angry at the world. And usually someone else catches the brunt of your anger and the cycle keeps going.
Stress and anger are not the best mindsets to have if you are looking to improve your health. When you are all tensed up and angry at the world, you are not thinking about eating right and exercising. You are only thinking about that jerk that made you mad.
I used to get really upset when people were unnecessarily rude to me. And I admit it still happens from time to time, but I am much better nowadays.
I want to share with you what helped changed my outlook. It was all about The Law of the Garbage Truck by David J. Pollay.
Pollay talks about an experience he had in the back of a New York City cab. He was riding in the back of the cab when all of the sudden a car comes out of nowhere and nearly causes his a terrible wreck between Pollay's cab and the crazy driver.
If that is not bad enough, the guy who nearly caused the accident blames the cabbie and starts screaming and flipping off them off. The cab driver's reaction was amazing.
He just smiled and waved.
Pollay was astounded and asked the cab driver how he could be so friendly after that man nearly killed both of them. The cab driver answered:
"Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you.
So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier."
Wow. My challenge to you this weekend is to look for garbage trucks. I bet you won't have to look far. When they try to dump their trash on you just smile, wave, and have an awesome day.
PS-I highly recommend reading The Law of the Garbage Truck: How to Stop People from Dumping on You, great book.
I went to get an adjustment at my chiropractor the other day and discovered an added benefit that I had forgotten. It was something that I used to do on my own, but just stopped doing.
Any time my chiropractor adjusts my atlas or axis (bones at the top of your vertebrae), he has you go rest for 10-15 minutes and then rechecks you to make sure you are holding your adjustment. The 10-15 minutes were amazing.
Don't get me wrong, I am a big believer in chiropractic adjustments. I feel and perform so much better when I am in alignment. But I got a much needed bonus during the rest time.
It was 10 minutes of doing absolutely nothing but relaxing. When was the last time you did that?
You are probably like me and almost every minute of your day is spent doing something. Even when I do have a spare second, I tend to get on my phone or find some other distraction.
The combination of the adjustment and that 10 minutes to decompress was amazing. My stress levels went way down, my thoughts were crystal clear, and I was able to tackle my day like a champ afterwards.
I'm betting you have 10 minutes somewhere in your day. Try it out this week. Find 10 minutes to just relax and think.
I'm going to make this a part of my daily routine like I used to. The simple habits are the easiest to let slip, but can be the most effective ones.
You know how I can tell I'm getting older? I brag to my friends if I get a really good night of sleep.
My life is a thrill a minute.
But I love to sleep! I am great at napping. The main reason I like sleep so much is because I need more of it.
Can I get an amen on that?
Do you get enough sleep?
It is tough to get up at 4am and get enough sleep. You have to go to bed at a ridiculous hour, you want to eat dinner at 4pm, and you can not understand people who call at 815pm. It's the middle of the night!
Being tired is a signal from your body telling you to change something. Get more sleep, exercise, eat better are the top 3 you have control over.
If you are sleep deprived, this study found that you can gain 11 pounds in just 3 days. That is nuts!
Other studies have shown that sleep deprivation can cause:
-you to snack more after dinner
-you to eat more carbs
-your fat cells to age making you more likely to gain weight and get diabetes
-a decrease in alertness and increase reaction time, making you more likely to be in a traffic accident
-you to be more stressed, angry, sad, and depressed
The bottom line is, if you are interested in your long term health you will make it a priority to get enough rest. There are situations, new born babies come to mind, where it just isn't possible. You are excused.
The rest of us, we just need to make it a priority. This could be the missing piece of the puzzle for you.
Do you feel like you are right on the edge of getting into shape and then something derails you?
If you are interested in more tips on how to get better quality sleep, you can check out this article I wrote last year: Get that good sleep
The main thing is start making sleep one of your top priority's today.
Over the past 10 weeks we have had several challenges that were meant to decrease negativity and increase positivity in your life. The most valuable part for me is that it has made me stop and think about the things I do.
The last challenge will probably be the toughest challenge. Let's start the challenge this way.
I want you to think about someone who has hurt you. Either recently or in the past, doesn't matter which one.
Now take stock of how you feel. Research has shown that just thinking about someone you hold a grudge against can: raise blood pressure, make you sweat more, and makes your muscles tense up.
Any of those happen to you just now? Makes my jaw clench when I think about people I'm mad at.
That is why your challenge this week is to forgive someone who has hurt you. Here are a few benefits of forgiveness from the Mayo clinic:
-Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
-Less anxiety, stress, and hostility
-Lower blood pressure
-Fewer symptoms of depression
-Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse
You can literally improve your health by forgiving someone else. I would argue that there is an even more important component to forgiveness.
By forgiving someone you take the power away from the person who hurt you. When you hold onto a grudge they can continue to haunt your life and make you miserable. When you forgive, you take charge of your happiness.
I understand that some things seem unforgivable and some relationships seem like they can never be mended. Those things can take time and many times professional help to get through.
Get that help if you fall into that category. No need for shame and you deserve healing.
I've lost friends in the past over what I thought was the worst thing in the world. Then I look back and realize how stupid the whole argument really was.
Life is too short for petty grudges! That will never happen to me again. I hope the same for you.
Your final challenge is to forgive someone. Not because they deserve it, but because you do.
Your challenge last week was to think of three things you like about your job. If you couldn't think of at least 3 things, you need to either find a new job or find some ways to relieve stress at work.
I suggest the The Office Chair Workout as a way to get your workout in at work or possibly get you fired and into a new job. (Disclaimer-Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp and Joe Martin claim no responsibility for firings and/or office chair related injuries)
This week, it is time to look at you. Are you a source of negativity?
This week pay close attention how you interact with people.
Are you constantly nagging them?
Are you always putting them down?
Do you ever have anything positive to say?
Are you saying things that put them down, just to lift yourself up?
Are you talking behind their back?
This isn't just face to face, it is especially on things like Facebook, text messages, and e-mail. People will write all kinds of horrible things that they would never say to a person's face. Facebook is probably the king of this, especially between "friends".
Simple rule of thumb: if you wouldn't say it to their face, don't put it in electronic form either.
So this week turn the microscope on yourself. Would you want to be treated the way you are treating others? Are you constantly being negative?
It is time to check yourself this week. The great part is that just be by being mindful of your actions, you will treat people better.
Last week your challenge was to deploy the AAA strategy to help relieve your source of stress.
The challenge was to do ONE thing to start making the problem better. Did it help? It feels so good to be proactive, rather than sitting back being reactive doesn't it?
This week your challenge involves most people's most offensive four letter word.
Studies have shown that only 19% of people are satisfied with your jobs. So chances are that you fit into this group.
Think about where you spend the majority of your time. It has been estimated that you will spend 91,250 hours (40 hours per week starting at age 21, retiring at 65) at work! If you aren't happy or at the very least mildly satisfied at work, it would not be a big shock to learn you are an unhappy person.
Here's your challenge this week. Think of three things you like about your job. By the way, if you are a stay at home mom you better believe that counts as a job.
It can be as small as "People are not shooting at me at work." Or it can be as big as "I feel like I am making a difference every day I go to work".
If you can't find 3 things about your job you like, I would suggest finding another one. How much is being miserable worth to you? I understand about paying bills, but your job stress will eventually cost you much more in terms of health, relationships, etc...
Until then, find some ways to reduce your stress levels about work.
Feel like there is never enough time to get everything done? Maybe you need some time management help (I have my hand raised on that one).
Take breaks, studies have shown you will still be more productive than you would have without taking breaks. Plus they keep you sane.
Stand up, stretch, and move every hour, at least. I have to set an alarm to remind myself to do this one.
Go for walks as often as possible. It will stir creativity and keep you sharper.
The question will always be, is it worth it? For some people it might be. If you aren't one of those people, then you need to find an outlet for your job stress or find a new job.
Your challenge this week is to do one thing to help eliminate one major source of stress in your life. No matter how big the situation is.
What is something you have in your life right now that stresses you out on a daily basis?
Whatever it is, do ONE thing this week that starts to alleviate the source of your stress. You will feel so much better by doing that one thing!
I am a true believer in the AAA principle.
Action. Alleviates. Anxiety.
When all you are doing is worrying about a problem it becomes a much bigger problem. When you start to do something about the issue, you can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. All you need in life is a little hope.
Identify the problem and then take action!